Spokesperson: Mohamed Swidan, Head of Region & Senior Director of Sales, Procore Technologies
Productivity and profitability of GCC construction is under threat. Labour shortages, raw materials costs, extreme weather events and geopolitical instability are all hurting the bottom line, and in the face of these challenges leaders across the region are starting to look for new ways to optimise performance and consolidate profit margins.
According to Procore’s latest benchmark report, ‘How We Build Now’, by witnessing first-hand the effectiveness of technology, construction is waking up to the broader potential of digital transformation, namely its ability to manage large scale, complex projects in the most efficient manner.
Technology drives productivity
Conducted by Censuswide, the report surveyed over 800 decision makers across EMEA, including in the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to understand how they think about the role of construction technology. According to the research, 8 in 10 respondents (80%) said they increased their investment in digital transformation due to the volatility caused by factors such as inflation and supply chain shortages.
This speaks to the role technology can play in streamlining processes, driving efficiencies and increasing time and cost savings, and how it allows firms to take on more projects as well as maximise their profit margin.
To break this down further, let’s look at the top three things respondents said could boost productivity levels:
- Implementing best practice process and protocol in pre-construction
- Building employee engagement
- Improving stakeholder collaboration and communication across the supply chain
Despite what is a varied set of answers, they all share one trait – technology can optimise each, and in doing so, deliver firms the level of productivity they need for the future.
Implementing best practice process and protocol in pre-construction
The link between more robust pre-construction processes and higher profitability was something covered in The State of Global Preconstruction. And according to ‘How We Build Now’, this remains the most effective route to better productivity in 2023.
This is because robust upfront planning can drive better business and financial outcomes. Key stakeholders can be brought into the supply chain as early as possible, and projects remain on track without any costly surprises.
To make this possible, firms need a way to learn from historical data to identify pain points and optimise operations for the future – before ground is even broken. For this, a single source of truth such as a construction management platform is ideal, as it enables firms to standardise the capture and integration of data from across their operations.
This not only benefits pre-construction but makes it far easier for business leaders to make better data-driven decisions throughout the entire project life cycle.
Building employee engagement
Construction management platforms are similarly key to what the ‘How We Build Now’ report highlighted as the third biggest way of driving productivity – building employee engagement. According to Gallup, just 21% of employees are engaged, and can lead directly to absenteeism, turnover and low productivity.
Platform technology has the potential to change this because it ensures everyone has visibility of the direct impact their work is having. Typically, information silos mean working with blinkers on. Yet on a platform, construction professionals are seeing a project come together through hard work and feel more engaged and rewarded as a result.
What’s also needed though is tech that is easy to use as adoption and engagement will be limited if a platform is too complex. This way, employees of all skill levels can take full advantage of the tools you give them and develop a closer relationship with the company and their work in the process.
Improving stakeholder collaboration and communication across the supply chain
One benefit of technology that we’ve all been very familiar with since 2020 is the ability to work remotely. Construction has traditionally been split into those working from the office and those from the site. Yet construction technology has changed this – empowering staff to remain connected as they go on the road and visit a project in-person.
The power of construction management platforms to deliver this is undeniable, as they ensure any data accessed from the site and inputted directly from it is incorporated in real-time. This means that accurate reporting doesn’t suffer from stakeholders working across various locations, with up-to-date information being made available at the click of a button.
There’s a reason why just under a quarter of survey respondents (24%) in ‘How We Build Now’ agreed that improving access to project information will boost productivity. This is because construction management platforms offer the possibility of viewing key data insights and project performance metrics via mobile or tablet, directly driving collaboration and communication across the supply chain whenever, wherever.
Laying the groundwork for a productive future
While the factors that lead to greater productivity across the GCC may vary, they are all united by how they run off collaboration, communication and quality data. And it’s no surprise that business leaders believe more efficient ways of capturing and integrating data across their projects could cut project costs by an average of 25%. A key focus area of almost every construction leader I speak with.
But these kinds of savings won’t happen naturally. Construction firms need to act now to ensure they are maximising the profitability of their projects. Because just how much construction’s productivity levels climb in the coming years will be defined by how quickly businesses move to utilise the full benefits of technology and in particular, construction management platforms.
To read the full ‘How We Build Now’ report, visit: https://www.procore.com/en-ae/ebooks/how-we-build-now-report